I have resigned as Executive Director to finish Friday 16 November. I informed the Board some time previously of my pending departure then formally submitted my resignation in October.
I commenced with the Conservation Council in October 2014 as Assistant Director then since May 2016 I’ve been Executive Director. There’s never a perfect time to leave but now there are many things in place.
In terms of advocacy and campaigning there are just under two years before the next ACT Legislative Assembly election, meaning there’s adequate time for the next Executive Director to consult on and identify the key environmental issues and start to articulate them to the political parties and candidates so that the environment isn’t a last-minute political football.
And we have a well-established core in the Board with some newer members and an overall good mix of skills elected at the AGM 13 November. Our finances are healthy-ish (we operate within budget even if our budget is too small) and we have increased staffing to provide media and communications and office management.
The Conservation Council is a great organisation with many moving parts covering governance, resources, advocacy, membership, representation… and each of those parts has its own set of components to be juggled and jiggled to keep everything running.
While being Executive Director has been busy and often challenging, it has been a privilege to hold the position. The support and engagement of our member groups makes the job easier and more satisfying and everyone in Canberra should be part of at least one local environment group! Join your local Parkcare Group!
There are many Conservation Council activities and achievements of which I have been privileged to be part. They are based on years of work and contributions from many people. Here are just a few from over the last year or two:
- Successful nomination of removal of mature native trees as a key threatening process
- Environment exchanges (2017) have been great policy and campaign drivers, for example: waste; gas; biodiversity offsets
- Bushfire symposium held July 2017 is an ongoing reference point for wider forums discussing and planning for bushfires
- Spring Mingle and Environment Awards: great ways to present some of the positive stories
- Molonglo report released following ACAT appeal (but trees were lost)
- Working in alliances including: Peaks Forum (community sector); Stop Adani; Australian Forest Climate Alliance
- Climate change policy and campaigning including helping ACT bring forward zero net emissions to 2045 with transitional targets
- Comments and submissions across all campaign areas
- Ongoing good relationships with all Legislative Assembly parties.
I will continue to be regular monthly donor to the Conservation Council. I want the Conservation Council to continue to have resources to be the voice for the environment in the ACT.
I also have great confidence the organisation will continue to do good work because of the great range of active member groups, the large band of dedicated volunteers and that we have fairly broad demographics (why not? the environment affects us all).
I will be taking a break which hopefully will include some rest and then will probably undertake some volunteer activities in various places. After I wrote to member groups that I was leaving I received quite a few suggestions for volunteer work. I might like to be on a few Boards. There’s plenty to be done!
Although I am officially finishing as Executive Director I will still provide assistance with handing over my corporate knowledge and might attend some meetings as representative if required.
It is often said that the most important task of a Board is to select the CEO so it is good that we have an experienced Board in place that is aware of the important roles of the Conservation Council. Clare Henderson will be acting interim Executive Director while the Board makes the appointment of the next Executive Director. The appointee is expected to commence in February 2019.
Thank you and best wishes.